Wanderlust: Expat Life & Style in Thailand The Relationships Issue - Page 34

Health & Wellness

WITH FAMILY :

A FIGHTING CHANCE

At 23 years old , Joshua Kalae “ Super Shane ” McShane was an up-and-coming professional boxer . With five wins , three KOs and no losses to his belt , he was training in Thailand for his next fight when the unthinkable happened .

It was summer 2015 . Hawaiian

boxer Kalae McShane had just hung up his gloves after a routine sparring session , when he became nauseated and complained of a headache . Shortly after , he lost consciousness .
Kalae was admitted to a hospital in the northern Thai city of Korat , where his condition worsened . His father , Shane McShane , booked a flight from Hawaii to be by his son ’ s side , hoping he would become well enough to fly home .
“ My son is my best friend ,” Shane explains . “ Just to see him like that … I can ’ t explain the pain I was feeling . I had to do whatever it took to get my son home as soon as possible .”
Kalae was transferred to Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok , a move that would reassure his mother , Dee . Though unable to visit her son in Thailand , Dee remained in contact with Kalae ’ s new doctors .
“ Moving to Bumrungrad gave me a lot more peace of mind . They were extremely helpful … and reassured me that Kalae was in a good facility , being cared for properly ,” said Dee .
At Bumrungrad , Kalae underwent a battery of tests to diagnose his condition . But when Kalae fell into a coma , doctors were faced with both a mysterious illness — and a race against time .
At first , doctors surmised that Kalae had suffered a head injury . But head trauma didn ’ t align with the initial diagnostics , and the possible causes , such as infection , were many . Following more tests and further observation , the focus became to stabilize Kalae and give him a chance at recovery .
Dr . Roekchai Tulyapronchote , Neurologist at Bumrungrad International Hospital noted : “ We wanted to give him the best chance for his brain to heal .”
Dr . Roekchai recognized that there would be more to Kalae ’ s recovery than medical treatment , however : “ I think that , for every patient , family is important . It is as though the patients are thinking , ‘ If the family fights with me , I will fight with them .’
Slowly , Kalae began to show signs of recovery . After seven weeks in intensive care , he was cleared for the trip back home .
Then a new challenge arrived . Moving Kalae to a hospital in the U . S . proved more difficult than expected .
“ We believed that Kalae had a very strong chance of coming out of his coma ,” explained Dr . Erik Fleischman , International Medical Director at Bumrungrad . “ But when we tried to find a hospital in Hawaii who would take him , we had doors slammed in our faces . They said that it was only appropriate to put him in a nursing home .”
Unwilling to accept this response — and determined to find a solution — the doctors of Bumrungrad ’ s Medical Coordination Office got to work .
Dr . Fleischman played a key role in Kalae ’ s homecoming : The doctor found a good hospital in Hawaii , one that would provide the type of care the young boxer needed . “ We hoped that by being around his family , feeling their presence and hearing their voices ,” Dr . Fleischman said , “ that Kalae ’ s recovery would speed up . And that ’ s exactly what happened .” In October , two months after falling sick , Kalae opened his eyes .
Recovering from a coma was Kalae ’ s biggest fight yet . But thanks to the support from doctors and family who cared , Kalae didn ’ t have to fight his battle alone .
Kalae has undergone months of rehabilitation as part of his ongoing recovery . Despite the many medical professionals who believed Kalae would remain in a coma , Bumrungrad and his family kept faith . Kalae has since regained his speech , ability to walk , and the chance to live a full life .
Currently , he ’ s working on getting back into the ring .
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